Fantastic helmet cam video of a house fire in Dallas last week. DFR Engine 5 doing interior attack. fb.me/252mekiPl
— DFW Scanner (@DFWscanner) March 28, 2013
If you don’t do well in IMAX theaters, don’t watch this. But this is the closest most of us will come to fighting a fire, and it’s incredible.
Earlier in the week, I asked if anyone was going to the Sweet Sixteen, out in Arlington. The response, mostly: I wish it was in downtown.
Well, if you listen to KERA, it can be. During BJ Austin’s report this morning on Dallas’s new slogan — “Big Things Happen Here” — she interviewed a gentleman, asking him what BIG things happen in Dallas:
So what big things are happening here? The first thing that came to James Eitzen’s mind was sports.
“We’ve got the Sweet Sixteen coming this weekend to American Airlines Center,” Eitzen said, also mentioning the Dallas Cowboys.
A boy can dream.
Look at that beautiful 1962 grid. Click and zoom for your neighborhood; mine sure looked a lot prettier then. Via Reddit.
Amy Everhart, Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s policy director, said Monday she was not aware of any action being taken on the matter, and city council nember Kathie Tovo said the council had not had a discussion about a bid or received an update from the mayor’s staff.
A month ago, Austin was one of 35 cities to receive a letter from the United States Olympic Committee inquiring about interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Games.
At that time, Leffingwell said in a statement, “Austin has become a global city, and I think we have shown ourselves as a strong venue on the world stage — it’s something we’ve proven with South by Southwest, ACL and the United States Grand Prix.”
Last month, Tovo called the bid an intriguing possibility and said, “I would certainly support some of the exploratory research.”
Time for Dallas to throw in the $3 billion hat, too.
Nine months after a National Academy of Sciences panel said oil and gas regulators should take steps to prevent man-made earthquakes, officials in key states are ignoring quake potential as they rewrite their drilling rules.
Two major drilling states, California and Texas, are overhauling their drilling rules without looking at the seismic risks linked to deep injection of drilling and hydraulic fracturing wastewater. New York regulators dismissed earthquake concerns in their drawn-out process of updating drilling rules.
Texas has had some of the best-documented seismic activity around brine wells. Researchers have linked injection to earthquakes in the Haynesville Shale in east Texas and the Barnett Shale in the Dallas area. Chesapeake Energy Corp. shut down two wells linked to quakes near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas production, is doing a large-scale revision of its rules without looking at man-made earthquakes.
“The geology of states vary greatly, and Texas has a long history of safe injection,” said Gaye McElwain, spokeswoman for the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas, not trains. “Our staff also are closely following various studies that are being conducted to determine possible man-made causes of recent seismic events.”
(h/t Texas Sharon)
And it will stay this way all week.
Kicking around on Facebook this weekend was a security video from Deep Ellum Urban Gardens, showing a few young gentlemen trying to shatter a security camera at the community garden. Know this fool?
Contact Kelly Cromwell Clemons at firstname.lastname@example.org. And watch the video, because there are a couple other clowns who make an appearance as well.
Following gaps and mismanagement revealed last fall, the city of Dallas has hired 45 new 911 call-takers since September in an effort to improve the maligned department.
In a briefing prepared for today’s City Council public safety committee, city officials report that, in addition to the 45 new employees, call-takers now receive more hands-on training, a Quality Control Team has been formed, and additional supervisors have been added. The city also expects 90 percent of all 911 calls to be answered within 10 seconds (see chart above); in August 2012, only 75 percent of calls met that standard.
The impetus for all this change was a series of errors committed by the city’s 911 call center last year. The first incident occurred on July 4, when callers tried to report a house fire. They were placed on hold, since only 13 of the scheduled 16 call-takers were on duty. One month later, Deanna Cook was murdered, after calling 911 choking and pleading for her life. The 911 call-taker did not pass on critical details to the officers, and they left the home when no one answered the door.
In September, the Morning News found that the office has been chronically understaffed for years.
“Although significant improvements have been made in the 911 Call Center,the Police Department is committed to offering even higher levels of service to those that work, live and play in the City of Dallas,” the report reads.
The meeting kicks off at 11 a.m.
Now that the Dallas Plan Commission has again rejected Trinity East’s plan to drill in parkland along the Trinity River, the decision falls to the City Council. A super majority — 12 of the 15 members — would be needed to overturn the commission’s ruling. There are a few things at play here, so let’s examine.
1. When will the Council vote? As the Morning News‘ Randy Lee Loftis noted in his story, Commissioner Tony Hinojosa suggested sending the item to Council in June, to allow for more study. The June date, though not expressly stated, is after the May 11 City Council election. One of the project’s lead opponents, Angela Hunt, heads out the door in that election. Her replacement would likely fall in line with her view, but it’s uncertain. Scott Griggs, the project’s other major opponent, faces Delia Jasso in his race, due to district realignment. If Griggs lost, and the vote was pushed to June, the project would lose one of its biggest opponents.
Even though Hinojosa’s suggestion failed 11-4, the council could still push a decision. That all depends on…
2. Personalities. During last month’s drubbing/back-rub of Mary Suhm, both Griggs and Hunt (GRUNT) were taken to task by other Council members for their attacks on Suhm. How much will that affect the May vote? Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins asked why the hearing was even taking place, and Jasso — running against Griggs, remember — said the hearing was just “pandering.” GRUNT will need two votes to swing their way…
3. The Votes. Hunt and Griggs are in. As Schutze noted last week, Councilwoman Sandy Greyson hasn’t been bullish on the toll road, a thorn that could extend to drilling. And looking back over my notes from the Mary Suhm hearing, Ann Margolin expressed some hesitancy, stating that the Council didn’t have “the knowledge of the potential hazards of drilling” five to six years ago. Jerry Allen said he “hadn’t seen any three-headed babies,” so he’s probably not going to swing to GRUNT.
See you at City Council. And then court. And then court again, probably.
I’m well aware of who John Wiley Price is; I wrote a term paper on him when I was a junior in high school. But he doesn’t know me from Adam. However, I was furiously scribbling notes as we stood next to each other yesterday during the ground-breaking ceremony for Sylvan Thirty. Even with only a slight awareness of his surroundings, he should have easily deduced that I’m a journalist.
That’s why I was shocked — shocked! — at the county commissioner’s response to Mayor Mike Rawlings’ request that Price join the lineup of elected officials turning dirt. “Why,” Price said as he stepped between two TV cameras, “because my hands look like they should be holding a shovel?”
The Dallas City Plan Commission will take up Trinity East Energy’s drilling plan later this afternoon at city hall, if anyone’s interested. In an editorial yesterday, the Morning News said the commission should vote against the plan.
And word came this morning from a coalition of anti-fracking groups that Irving city councilmembers would be present to speak out against the proposal. From a statement from Downwinders at Risk and the Texas Campaign for the Environment:
Irving officials held a town-hall style public meeting on Monday in response to growing citizen concerns. Councilmember Rose Cannaday, whose district neighbors the proposed drilling sites, attended the meeting and took questions from dozens or residents who attended and testified against the proposal. Then Trinity East officials were brought in to speak at a City Council work session on Wednesday—where they faced harsh questions from several Irving Council members. Parents and students at North Hills Preparatory School have gathered hundreds of petition signatures against the project in just in the past three days.
If you’d like a Cliffs Notes version of the water conservation debate in Texas, look no further than two stories the Morning News posted yesterday. The first is a blog post about conservation efforts:
With the state in the midst of one of its worst droughts in history, local water conservation advocates gathered Tuesday to talk about how to address the crisis.
“People create problems and solve problems,” said Trammell S. Crow, founder of Earth Day Dallas. “Consumers have to take the responsibility for water conservation.”
The group highlighted a report released by the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center calculating that potential water conservation could help Texas save 500 billion gallons of water per year. Among the measures is proposed were making agricultural irrigation more efficient, using more drought-tolerant plants in landscaping and repairing leaky water mains. Other speakers who gathered at Winfrey Point on White Rock Lake agreed that building new reservoirs and pipelines, which Austin policymakers are considering funding, is not the answer to Texas’ water challenges.
Dallas Police officers are in the process of interviewing registered sex offenders in and around Lake Highlands, hoping to find at least one suspect in a string of sexual assaults that have occurred in the neighborhood in the past month, Chief David Brown said this afternoon. Bicycle and mounted officers have taken over the neighborhood, providing the dual benefit of searching for suspects and protecting the residents.
Brown stressed that police believe they already have a suspect in the Feb. 22 assault, a serial felon who is in jail for at least a half-dozen separate incidents.
Fernando Munoz was arrested in Lewisville on March 1 on three outstanding warrants, and later linked to three sexual assaults between 2008 and 2010. Brown said Munoz is a “strong suspect” in the Feb. 22 account, and is awaiting DNA evidence before charges are filed. That still leaves the two other sexual assaults in the neighborhood: one on March 15, and one this morning. In both cases, Brown said, the suspect was described as a Hispanic man who spoke English with a Spanish accent, but the descriptions of their body types varied. Police are keeping the possibility open that two men are responsible for the attacks, but Brown also conceded that sometimes victims’ descriptions of assailants can vary.
“We don’t want to rule out the possibility that these victims are describing the same guy, but in different ways,” he said.
The suspect in this morning’s attack may have been scratched by the victim, and tips should be called in to 214-670-4415. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
As for the lockdown of Lake Highlands-area schools this morning, police officials said Richardson ISD officials were monitoring the police activity, and pro-actively decided to take the precaution.
As Tim wrote in Leading Off, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton paid his daughter $132,000 over the past two years. This is news, yes, but should not be a surprise. In 2011, Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Barton one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress, after the Morning News found that the 15-term congressman earned nearly $100,000 from natural gas wells that he purchased from a campaign donor, one who also advised Barton on energy policy.
He also paid his wife $58,000 during the 2006 election cycle, and doled out $12,000 to the same daughter during that same period. The problem, since 1984, when Barton first rode into office, is that no one has ever really challenged him for the Sixth Congressional district seat. But maybe that’s changing.
Look at the graph above. That’s the percentage of the vote Barton has received each year. It’s dwindling. In 2012 Barton defeated democrat Kenneth Sanders 58 percent to 39.2 percent, an 18.8 percent victory that’s his tightest since an 11.6 percent victory back in 1986. Redistricting removed much of the white, rural population from District 6 — from 73 percent of the district down to 58 percent — concentrating the new area in southeast Tarrant County. And with the shifting politics of Texas – never mind a growing Hispanic voting bloc across North Texas — Barton should expect 2014 to be even tighter.